Our Planet

While scientists have seen colossal squid before—like this specimen examined by New Zealander researchers in 2014—their interactions have always been with animals that were either pulled from the depths, washed up on shore or otherwise removed from their natural habitat.

Is This the First Recorded Footage of a Colossal Squid Living Freely?

The only sightings of the animals so far have come from corpses or creatures dragged up from the depths

One of the new benthic landers is lowered into the Gulf of Mexico via a system of winches and safety lines. Once released, the autonomous platform sinks at a carefully calculated rate until it lands on the seafloor.

These Innovative Landers Will Examine Coral Reefs in the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists plan to use what they learn to help restore communities harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

The northern lights appear near Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada, on May 11, 2024.

Missed the Auroras in May? Here’s How to See Them Next Time

Three veteran aurora chasers and a NASA scientist share everything you need to know to check these dazzling displays off your bucket list

A couple of atypically colorful logbook pages from the Bengal of Salem, Massachusetts, housed at the Providence Public Library. The ship sailed around the Pacific Ocean from 1832 to 1835.

How a Trove of Whaling Logbooks Will Help Scientists Understand Our Changing Climate

Researchers are examining more than 4,200 New England documents to turn descriptions of the wind into data

Acorns cover the forest floor.

Why Do Trees Drop So Many Seeds One Year, and Then Hardly Any the Next?

A new paper suggests that plants may use slow seed years to prevent the spread of disease

Speleologists in metallurgical “cooling suits” emerge from the extreme heat of a lava tube formed by the eruption in 2021 of Mount Fagradalsfjall.

Journey Into the Fiery Depths of Earth’s Youngest Caves

What Iceland's volcanoes are revealing about early life on our planet

In the late 1960s, Bob Paine described the Pisaster sea star as a “keystone species” in Pacific Northwest tide pools. The concept has since taken on a life of its own.

Has the Term 'Keystone Species' Lost Its Meaning?

More than 50 years after Bob Paine’s experiment with starfish, hundreds of species have been pronounced “keystones” in their ecosystems

A multi-vortex tornado touches down on the town of Patricia, Texas.

Ten Amazing Facts About Tornadoes, Explained

To prepare you for the movie “Twisters,” we’ve compiled some jaw-dropping details about the powerful phenomenon

The earthquake on March 27, 1964, dropped Anchorage’s Fourth Avenue and some cars on it roughly 20 feet below normal.

How the Great Alaska Earthquake Shook Up Science

Sixty years ago, the largest earthquake in U.S. history shocked geologists. It’s still driving scientific discoveries today

Piles of coal sit in front of a power plant in Utah. Such coal-fired power plants emit greenhouse gases that drive climate change.

What Myths About the Anthropocene Get Wrong

These ten misconceptions underplay how much we have altered the global environment and undermine the new perspective we need to deal with a drastically changed world

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There's More to That

What Happens When Animals Cross the Road

Our byways are an unnatural incursion into the natural world, especially when they’re allowed to fall into disuse. Meet a roadkill scientist and a journalist tracking how roads mess with nature—and what we can do about it

Wide-ranging anecdotal reports and studies suggest many animals respond to a total solar eclipse, whether by showing anxiety, performing nighttime behaviors or doing something unexpected.

How Do Animals React to a Total Solar Eclipse? Scientists Document Strange and Surprising Behaviors

Nature enthusiasts work with researchers to figure out how creatures respond to the celestial phenomenon

American video artist Brian Fridge created a five-billboard series in Dallas called View Finder that portrayed a solar eclipse.

The Long History of Art Inspired by Solar Eclipses

For centuries, curious artists have been trying to make sense of the celestial event

The mountain range is beloved for its challenging rock climbing and unusually varied terrain, from grassland and forest to rugged alpine rises.

Climbing Malawi’s Island in the Sky

A steep, lush massif—the country's highest peak at 10,000 feet—beckons adventurers

A straw-headed bulbul 

How Singapore Became an Unexpected Stronghold for a Critically Endangered Bird

Despite being the smallest country in Southeast Asia, the city-state is now home to the largest population of the straw-headed bulbul

The Aria Resort & Casino, a striking pair of curved buildings on the Las Vegas Strip, bills itself as eco-friendly and water-efficient.

Las Vegas Is Going All In on Its Water Conservation Plan

As the Southwest dries, can a city notorious for excess find a way to survive with less?

Leaves and roots analyzed by botanist Mason Heberling

These Researchers Are Digging Into the Understudied Science of Roots

After centuries of neglect, botanists are using new techniques to understand roots

A forest in Minnesota

In Minnesota, Researchers Are Moving Trees Farther North to Save Forests

As the world warms, trees in such forests will no longer be adapted to their local climates. That's where assisted migration comes in

The otherworldly form of the octopus has inspired millennia of fear and awe from humans.

Ten Wild Facts About Octopuses: They Have Three Hearts, Big Brains and Blue Blood

These bizarre creatures have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and for humans, they’ve inspired horror, admiration and culinary prestige

Minerals and algae form patterns in the scalding hot water at Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park's Midway Geyser Basin. Yellowstone National Park has more than 10,000 thermal features, making it the largest concentration of active geysers in the world.

How a Microbe From Yellowstone's Hot Springs Could Help Feed the World

A Chicago startup has turned a fungus found by NASA into a protein-packed food

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